Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Fashion - a dysfuntional something.

Warning this is going to be rambling, getting back into the feminist fray type post.

I have ALOT of things going on in my little head. They all relate to fashion and its impact on us XX chromosome carriers. These thoughts have to do with a series of incidents over the last little while. I will just list them in bullet format as I think they illustrate my inner conflict quite well.

  • I have stated somewhere in my archives that I think of myself as pretty. I'm pretty damn hot if I do say so myself. However, I am physically lacking in certain areas - I'm no DD cup size. This used to bother me, but not so much now. I'm happy with my body and my cup size. That's not to say having a small cup isn't annoying. Certain styles of clothing just don't look good or adjustments must be made because dress makers think that a person with a 26" waist totes has HUGE knockers. During awesome BIL's wedding, a cousin remarked that a particular lingerie shop carried awesome push up / padded bras. Without thinking I remarked that wearing padded / push up bras was against my feminist beliefs. EVERYONE was like WTF?? I think this whole idea that you must have cleavage to be attractive is bullshit and I don't give a rats ass to spend triple the amount on a bra just to let people think I have huge boobs. I don't. I am happy with my boobs, so is monkey and so is his dad. Yes monkey likes my boobs, they did fed him for over a year.
  • While christmas shopping for my niece, I totally annoyed the sales lady because I refused to by mix and match fashion type toys for my not yet 4 year old niece. Nor did I want to buy a kit that allowed her to make different types of lip gloss. Nor did I want to be shown anything remotely makeup / fashion typy. Why the fuck does a NOT YET FOUR year-old need to worry about make-up and clothes? I'm not saying I didn't love to dress up my barbie, I did. I was EIGHT!!!. Right now, all she needs to do is play with stuff that makes her creative, teaches her to ask questions, peaks her curiosity and imagination. NOT fucking CLOTHES! FYI she cared more about monkeys trucks on Christmas day than anything else. She made her aunty proud!
  • I was at swimming with awesome inspiring friend when I told her she inspires me to not give a shit about what I look like. Which really came out like I was implying she looks like crap, which is totally not what I meant (I know you know that JV!) My friend JV is a total surfer girl who put very little effort into fashion or makeup. She places more importance on who she is than what she looks like. I love that. I think a big part of my emphasis on looking good had to do with my inappriopriately placed emphasis on judging someone on their appearances. Putting greater emphasis on what they looked like instead of who they were. Consequently, I put emphasis on my appearance because I felt that was how I was being judged. JV really has changed me to a more balanced emphasis, I care more about who I am and who my friends are then what I or they look like.
  • I watched Legally Blond 2. I love Reese Witherspoon and the message that she is sending about not judging someone because they like fashion. Yet in the movie, she would make-over the not into fashion smart girls so they could catch a man. Again emphasizing that how a woman looks is more important than who she is. Whether you're the pretty one or not you get judged on looks. Basically I felt the movie was saying you have to look pretty, even if you're smart, too get noticed. But hold on, don't look too pretty because then you can't be smart. WTF!!!
  • Then I read the latest F-word blog post and Isis's latest post.To which I say I fucking hate fashion!!!!! and the color pink

I'm torn because I love fashion and I have to admit I had a love affair with pink. Yet I don't want my niece to be a slave to it. I'm torn because the idea that I shouldn't be judged because I am into fashion is an OK message to send but the idea that fashion doesn't matter is considered insane. In Legally Blond 2, smart lawyer wasn't noticed until she was made up, there is more pressure on moms' to lose that baby fat and be MILF because some how mothers are not inately not fuckable. Oxymoron since obviously I'm fuckable since I've fucked to have kids.

The idea that something has to be girly to attract girls drives me batshit crazy. Don't worry you can be sexy AND smart because you know, being sexy is way more important. NO! NO! NO! or that you can be SMART and sexy because you know whats the point in being smart if you're not sexy.

Yet the idea that being girly is somehow negative also annoys me. What is wrong with being a girl? Why is being girly such a derogatory remark? Being boyish isn't considered a bad thing. Which is when I realize that its the FUCKING JUDGEMENTS that piss me off. Its the emphasis on the appearances and image as apposed to who were are that is wrong. I love fashion because it allows me freedom to express who I am. I hate fashion because it put emphasis where it shouldn't be. I wonder if we put more emphasis on who are, like my friend JV, would we as a society have a better understanding of the complexity of people? would we finally realize that you can not label someone girly or not girly because those labels only touch a fragment of who someone is?


Brigindo said...

I think you're making a really important point here. In some ways it reminds me of the made-up battle between "working" moms and "stay-at-home" moms. Neither really says anything about who you are as a person or a mom. Being "girly" and into fashion or not being "girly" really should have nothing to do with who you are as a person. Feminism should be about choice but unfortunately these stereotypes are reinforced (and sometimes we inadvertently reinforce them ourselves) and become a symbol of "who we are" even when we're not that at all.

ScientistMother said...

Brigindo - You hit the nail on the head. Its the whole idea of not really having choices because we get judged regardless of what we do. I'm finding similar frustrations with my son. He loves playing with dolls and dancing, yet certain uncles are. not. happy. WTF, liking "girly" things make you less of a boy. Because nothing is girly or boyish, they are things that some kids like or don't. I. HATE. LABELS.

ScienceGirl said...

Oh dear. My life better not revolve around having to loose baby weight once the little one is here! My body is doing an amazing job growing this little creature; if someone makes a comment about a few extra pounds that stick around afterward, I will make sure to chop their head off!

FrauTech said...

Nice rant. Let me just say on the other side, a big chest is often associated with lack of brains. So your DD friends in science probably don't always enjoy life. Or fit into clothes. Clothes were made for models, with extra room in places that is not necessary. Clothing designers frequently forget if you are bigger up top this usually means you have big shoulders too. I'm about this close to learning to sew my own stuff, and I have no skill at the sort of thing.

But I agree with the other stuff, and I hate that little girls in our society are STILL being given the message that being pretty and attracting a mate is more important than being smart. And I've seen confident, smart women passing these messages along to their daughters as well. So I don't know what's up, like even those confident and smart women can't be satisfied unless they've got a dude as well.

ScientistMother said...

SG - I didn't really focus on losing weight, just being healthy. The problem I have with the get back to shape movement is that its again about fitting into a certain ideal instead of being healthy. I always say to new mums, you spent 9 months building a house for your baby, its going to take at least 9 months to tear it down - its my way of taking pressure off.

FT - I don't think my DD friends like being DD either (at least not all of them) my point was more about the body image that are protrayed in magazines and movies - big breasts are IMPORTANT to be attractive. The dowdy girls is always small chested the cool hot one big..

Its the pigeon-holing into roles that drives me nuts

chall said...

SM you got that right.

It's easier (and more acceptable) to have a "boyish girl" than a (gasp!) girlish boy.... and girlish means dancing, liking dress up, even being still and reading in a corner (at least for some in my family). Don't even go into th pink corner..."a boy in pink? - WHY would you give him angst for life" ... andhere I thought a 2 year old could pick whatever he liked to wear?

Anyway, I am surprised about the fashion too since I am a slightly heavier model with boobs but I still have a problem fitting things over my boobs although I am a bigger size. It's stange, imho, since my waist is that big that the boob area is the most difficult part to make fit correctly in dresses and shirts... I think there is something as in "you are big and therefore without shape?" I dunno, but it makes me sad anyway.

The smart or sexy/good looking thing is something I have heard since I was little and since I was smart, I always assumed that mean I wasn't sexy/good looking. It's strange, for sure.

Cath@VWXYNot? said...

Remember that "more than a handful ends up at your waist", as my Mum likes to say!

I have to admit we tend to get our nephews fairly stereotypically "boy" presents - video games (hockey and stunt driving, this year), skateboarding gear, kits to make catapults and trebuchets etc. I try to sneak a few books and stuff in there too, but guess which toys they want to play with on Christmas Day?! There are no young girls in the family, but I will be trying to find some stereotype busting gifts for my friends' daughters as they get older (this year I got them a very cute hat each, but that was more for the parents' benefits than the kids').

ScientistMother said...

Chall - don't you know that if you don't have a 24 inch waist, in the fashion world you don't matter?! The unrealistic proportions drive me mad. Where fashion is supposed to make you feel better, the industry warped sense of what is beautiful ends up making us all feel inadequate.

Cath - it is easier to do the stereotypical boy thing and there is not alot out there that encourages them to go beyond that. For monkeys birthday I've requested everyone to either not purchase a gift or get something not traditionally associated with boys. I'm starting to think that the only way to really achieve equality is to not make everything girl acceptable but to make everything gender neutral. Ie making boys like/want to do "girly" things.

Anonymous said...

Re: girlish boys--
My husband was never a very boyish boy, and I've followed his desires as we raise our four sons. No organized sports, for example (though they all love sports, unlike their dad!).

We have never allowed weapons in the house, yet my boys play war games. My very feminist m-i-l bought the older boys a baby doll when #3 was born, to "encourage nurturing tendencies". They took one look at it and said, "Another troop!" M-i-l was not amused. My #4 son prefers playing with girls as opposed to boys, but this involves things like jumping rope (yes, he knows all the little rhymes) or playing tag. He will not play with dolls.

All of my boys can cook and do housework. When I consider my acquaintances, I know a female quilter who taught all five of her sons to quilt. My best friend's husband is an amazing crocheter. Yet none of these guys are considered "girlish" by their peers--in fact, I hear that some of them are thought to be very macho.

Is it really possible to have a girlish boy?